Dallas, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/02/2012 -- Colombia’s government continues to rely upon hydroelectricity to meet nearly all its energy requirements, but this strategy is not without its problems. In terms of existing energy generating capacity, the forecast that the El Niño phenomenon will return in late 2012 means that lower rainfall will affect energy production at hydroelectric power plants. Other problems specific to Colombia include the fact that many hydroelectric power stations – both planned and current ones – are in areas that the guerrilla group FARC considers to be its territory. A series of FARC-led sabotages of electrical infrastructure illustrate some of the problems associated with harnessing hydroelectric power in remote areas. However, there has been positive news, including: Isagen’s announcement that it has successfully obtained funding for the Sogamoso hydroelectric project, EPM’s new finance agreement with the French Development Bank and the awarding of a COP1.8bn contract to the consortium CCC Ituango for the civil engineering works at the Hidroituango power plant.
Hydroelectric power continues to contribute to over 80% of total consumption in Colombia, despite the inherent problems associated with this source of energy. A series of tenders awarded in late December 2011 and January 2012 included three thermal projects, but even so, hydro will dominate the energy mix. During 2011-2016, BMI forecasts that Colombia’s overall power generation will increase by an annual average of 4.1%, reaching 72.0 terawatt hours (TWh). Driving this growth are annual gains of 3.6% in hydroelectric power generation, while coal and gas-fired generation are forecast to increase by an annual average of 10.6% and 6.3% respectively.
Following a rise in real GDP of 5.9% in 2011, BMI expects average annual growth of 4.5% between 2011 and 2021. Net power consumption looks set to increase to 58.4TWh by 2016, rising to 70.4TWh by 2021. The theoretical net export capacity by 2016 is put at 1.71TWh and Colombia’s export capacity will decrease to 0.3TWh by 2012. The news that the transmission line between Colombia and Panamá has been postponed indefinitely will affect our forecasts of Colombia’s export capacity.
Key developments in Colombia’s power sector this quarter include:
-EPM awarded a contract for the civil engineering works in the construction of the hydroelectric power plant at Ituango to the consortium CCC Ituango in August 2012, formed of Brazil’s Comercio Camargo Correa, and Colombia’s Conconcreto and Coninsa-Ramón H.
-Security concerns arose when guerrilla group FARC damaged electrical infrastructure, affecting EPM’s ability to distribute energy from the Porce hydroelectric power plant.
-State-controlled grid operator ISA and Panamá’s Etesa announced their plans to postpone the launch of the tender for the Colombia-Panamá interconnection line in August 2012.
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